Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Mechanical Engineering (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

David Calamas


Thermoelectric cooling and the Peltier effect were discovered in 1834, over 188 years ago. Additionally, the first iterations of additive manufacturing (i.e., 3D printing) began in the early 1980s, more than 40 years ago. Despite these technologies’ age and years of advancements, the application of Peltier cooling-based devices in additive manufacturing has not yet been realized. These devices can be used for the active thermal management of print beds in 3D printers. Developing a mechanism to heat and cool a print bed can reduce the cycle time to manufacture a part. In 3D printing, waiting for the heated bed to cool down before removing the part due to potential deformations and loss of finishing quality is best. Removing the part before the printer bed cools down can damage the print bed surface. Due to this time constraint, the automation and mass production of 3D-printed parts is substantially hindered. Using a thermoelectric cooling device, known as a Peltier cooler, a 3D printer bed could be cooled using the Peltier and Seebeck Effects by applying a voltage to the device. Furthermore, the Peltier cooler could serve as a dual-purpose device to heat the printer bed to the desired temperature. The result is a decrease in the total time to manufacture multiple parts additively.

Thesis Summary

The primary objective of this project is to explore and experimentally test a novel idea for an active cooling system for a 3D print bed. The active cooling system for the print bed will utilize Peltier thermoelectric devices in place of the traditional resistance heating element currently used in virtually all existing heated 3D printer beds. Each method’s heating and cooling uniformity and cycle time will be evaluated and compared to determine if this active cooling system is viable to increase manufacturing efficiency in automated processes.

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